Achieving higher rankings through Google

Posted on January 5, 2011

 

When you think of search marketing you typically think of Google; is it any wonder when you consider that roughly nine out of every ten searches in the UK are made on Google? Even Google-owned YouTube features more daily searches than Google’s rivals Yahoo and Bing, meaning that when you think ‘SEO’ you need to think ‘Google’.

This leads us inevitably to a simple question; how do you achieve higher rankings in Google? The answer to this, rather surprisingly, is quite simple.

You first need to understand the nature of Google and why it is so successful as a search engine. The reason for Google’s success isn’t because of its powerful advertising (Google hardly ever advertises on TV, with one notable recent exception) nor is it because of Google’s global brand.

No, Google is so successful because of one simple fact; it works.

google_logo

When you search for something on Google you will invariably find it free of the spammy, irrelevant websites and duplicate results that are so prevalent on other, inferior, search engines. You see, SEO companies love search engines such as Yahoo because it’s fairly easy to achieve results within its index. Yahoo has an almost ‘fad inspired’ knee jerk reaction to many optimisation tactics, meaning results can be achieved fairly quickly. Of course, the fact that less than one in 20 UK searches are made on Yahoo does somewhat negate its impact.

This also means that when you search in Yahoo you can see the handiwork of the SEO. His overly optimised page titles, his keyword heavy homepage content and his hammer-blow inspired linking techniques are all there on the first page of Yahoo’s results, devaluing their relevance… hence why fewer people use it as a search engine.

Google on the other hand doesn’t fall for such obvious tactics. Google is a much more complex search engine, with an algorithm shrouded in mystery and secrecy… but an algorithm that works nonetheless. Google values its stranglehold on the search market, and it isn’t about to let SEO companies ruin the purity of its results pages with irrelevant websites. Therefore, to achieve results in Google you need to follow one simple philosophy; ethics.

Ethical SEO means obeying the rules laid down by Google, but also understanding the point of Google and catering your SEO accordingly. For example, by using ethical SEO you:

  • Don’t buy links from irrelevant, inferior quality websites hosted within foreign countries
  • Don’t spam your web pages with keyword heavy content, designed purely to increase the density of your keywords
  • Don’t conceal text on your website in any form, purely as a method of showing the search engines one thing and your website visitors another

But it’s all very well saying what you don’t do, what actually should you do?

Simply put, don’t think of Google as the SEO police and try to hide your SEO tactics from them. You should be proud of everything you’ve done and never feel guilty about a certain practise. Google wants to offer the most relevant, useful and up-to-date results to people when they perform a search, so make your website one of those results. Ask yourself if you would be satisfied with finding your website if you were Googling for one of your keywords. Does your website offer the most comprehensive, up-to-date information it can? Could you find better information elsewhere? Does your website deserve to be ranked highly based on its content?

SEO isn’t a dark, mystical art akin to alchemy, nor is it about keyword density, meta tags and link buying. SEO starts with your website and what it is about. To ‘optimise’ your website for search engines you need to make your website into something your target audience would be happy to find at the end of a search.

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